tv Meet the Press MSNBC May 27, 2012 2:00pm-3:00pm EDT
firms like bain are about making money, not creating jobs. >> there may be value for that kind of experience, but it's not in the white house. [ cheers and applause ] >> and so this morning the debate over bain, the economy and where things stand in the race. with us former presidential candidate newt gingrich who will appear with governor romney next week. and maryland's democratic governor, chair of the democratic governor's association martin o'malley. gingrich and o'malley square off. then as we kick off a hot summer of campaigning, the state of the race and the key question, will either candidate be able to pull away. with us, democratic mayor of los angeles antonio diorogosa. former ceo of hult hewlett-packard. david brooks and from the washington post, author of "our divided political heart" e.qj
e.j. dion. and a special conversation with maria schriver and michael lewis about advice for graduates during this season. >> you are dismissed! good morning. so much campaigning ahead this summer. joining me the democratic governor of maryland, chair of the democratic association. and former speaker of the house newt gingrich. great to have you here. good morning. >> thank you. >> speaker gingrich, i have to ask you now as you are here no longer as a candidate. about a year ago you were here declaring your candidacy. where are you in the race? are you behind governor romney? do you think he can win? >> oh, sure. i'm totally committed to
romney's election. given this economy, this level of unemployment, this level of dep sits it's likely he will win. i think you will see it pull away in september and october. >> what did you learn from campaigning against mitt romney about him? >> he's much tougher than i would have thought. he's prepared to do what it takes to win. he's a very good organizer. in the end he could organize and raise money on a scale to match obama. i couldn't. i think he's also a good study. he worked hard at understanding when i beat him in south carolina what he had to do to come back in florida. i have substantial respect for his ability as a leader to do the things he has to do to get the job done. >> you heard how i framed it at the top of the program which is who's got the skills. the bain debate is a skills test for who can turn the economy around. the president defended himself and the attack on bain. this is what he said this week.
>> if your main argument for how to grow the economy is, i knew how to make a lot of money for investors then you're missing what this job is about. it doesn't mean you weren't good at private equity. but that's not what my job is as president. my job is to take into account everybody, not just some. >> will he come across as anti-business? >> i don't believe that. in fact, i agree with speaker gingrich during his campaign when he had to address that claim that mitt romney initially made that he created hundreds of thousands of jobs, a claim he backed off of under the speaker's questioning and pressing. there are two things that romney has to recommend himself for thing high office of president. one, his experience with bain
capital. his job was to return profits as quickly as possible to a narrow few rather than create long-term jobs for the many. the second one which you don't hear him talk about at all is his experience in the public sector when he was governor of massachusetts. >> speaker, respond to this. you called his time at bain exploitation. >> i think obama has a different problem. e h has the worst unemployment record of any president since great depression. second, his efforts at bureaucrat tick investment have been a disaster. they have one solar power company that went belly up. solyndra is a national scandal. the problem obama has is he has no model of effective job creation compared to private capital. that's why this is going to fall on its face. plus, i was careful.
i didn't go after private equity. the president went after private equity. so you had senator warner, senator feinstein, cory booker on the show. there are 15, 20 democrats who have said this is an inaccurate and wrong approach for the president to take. >> if the chief qualification is to say, i'm mitt romney, i worked at bain capital, i understand private enterprise and that experience make mace job creator when that's not what's at the core of private equity, that is not their chief function. >> sure. we'll get to his public record. when romney left the governorship after four years there was 4.7% unemployment. if with we were there, there would be 5.5 million more americans at work. whether obama wants to fight on romney's record, obama deciding to pick a fight -- this is a little bit like the reverse of james carville in 1992. obama picking a fight on the
economy is probably the worse possible strategy for his campaign. >> i would disagree with that. we have driven under president obama's leadership unemployment down to three-year lows. home foreclosures are lower now than they were when president obama took office. we have put together the american people with effective leadership 26 months in a row private sector job growth. that record will be contrasted sharply to what mitt romney did as governor which was in a strong state, in a better time of the economy, to have the state ranked 47th out of 50 in job creation. >> the unemployment rate in massachusetts came down under his stewardship. >> the unemployment rate came down in a lot of states at different times. our national unemployment rate is now at the lowest level in three years and it could be driven down further, more quickly with more job creation if we get beyond the tea party republican obstructionism that tries to prevent oh american
investments. >> what is the warning from the president's campaign and surrogates about what romney policy would mean for job creation on a national level? >> what's the warning? i think what you see and part of what some of the, you know, armchair critics are missing is that what mr. romney did, not governor romney, what he did at bain capital was to drive up debt greatly, by the company that is bain took over in order to return huge dividends to a small group of investors, and then walk away from the business. >> before i let the speaker respond you have the president's job council where he has private equity folks on there. >> they should be. >> and you have the department of economic development headed up by somebody from private equity. >> absolutely. it's not about that. >> you have to recognize the private equity experience. >> it's a part of it. what the president of the united states, what the leader of the economy must be concerned about
is not the short term return of profits but a long-term economy that creates jobs for the many. >> let's start down that job. why is unemployment down? because participation in the workforce is at the lowest point it's been. people are retiring early because they can't find a job. people have given up looking. the real number of those who are under employed, unemployed and quit working is 19%. this is a disaster. if you want to fight over debt in an administration which raised the national debt from 47% of the economy to 74% in three and a half years, this is what obama will have a hard time with in the fall. he can't fight over jobs. he isn't creating them. he's increasing debt. he has policies at least half the american people find unacceptable. romney has a straightforward case. can you afford four more years of barack obama? can you afford four more years
of this economy, of this kind of debt? or do you want somebody as governor that the unemployment rate under romney came down. the fact is he was able to balance the budget every year as he had to under plthe law in massachusetts. >> two things on the romney record. wrrd to debt, governor romney drove up for the people of massachusetts is largest per capita debt of any state in the union. that's a fact. when it comes to what little bit of job creation was happening in massachusetts it was happening in the public sector at six times the rate that it was happening in the private sector. his record, whether it's at bain capital or whether it was as governor of massachusetts is not a record of reducing debt. it's of increasing debt. not a record of increasing private job creation, but actually having the 47 out of 50 states in terms of the worst job creation. >> except if you look over time, most of the companies bain
invested in did well. most paid off the debt. if you look at staple, for example, the return on investment was enormous. they paid off the debt. the problem the president's got is a normal american looks at that time price of gasoline, the foreclosure rate which is coming down in part because so many houses have been foreclosed. you look at the unemployment numbers and you say to yourself why would i believe barack obama will be any better in a second term? that's why romney has a strong case to say it's time to try a different approach. >> during the campaign you said governor romney ought to have a press conference and really explain his experience at bain and take all the relevant questions. do you think he ought to do that still? >> he did that. people looked and this is why i said i don't understand the obama cam tan strategy here. bain doesn't work because people say, you can pick a couple of companies that lost, a lot of
companies that succeeded and as the governor of massachusetts said last week it is a good company with a good track record and it is a good citizen of massachusetts. >> you said this is a character issue for romney. what he did. >> he clearly came out, had the press conferences. >> is this a character issue to you and the president? >> out's a qualification issue. there is nothing governor romney did either in the private sector to create jobs or in the public sector to distinguish himself as a job creator. there is a tremendous amount of balance required to be president of the united states, especially to bring our country back from the disastrous aftereffects of the bush recession, the bush job losses and the huge amount of our deficit. 55% of which was caused by policies, tax cuts that benefitted the wealthiest of americans rather than investing in the future and the better economy with greater opportunities than our kids deserve. >> at this stage in 1984, no one
on the reagan team was talking about the carter recession. because they were talking about the reagan recovery, the job growth under reagan, the success of reagan. this administration went from yes, we can to why we wouldn't. this president has been president for three i can't have years. he had a chance. the country knows it is not fixed on gasoline, on the economy, on the deficit. romney at least has a reasonable shot of doing a better job than barack obama. >> let me ask you about two challenges. one for you, speaker, and for governor romney. that's the latino vote. if he cannot close the gap, what's the opportunity for him to actually prevail in the fall? you ran to the left of hum on the immigration question. he gave a speech this week. didn't talk about immigration. how big of a problem is this for him? >> he has to address it. you have barack obama failed on immigration reform even with a
democratic house and senate. e he's not in a good position because he failed to fix it when he controlled the house and senate. he was speaking to the hispanic chamber of commerce. they will tell you the number one issue is jobs. the number two issue is the price of gasoline. the number three issue is housing. the number four issue is education where romney spent the week, offered a bold alternative to help poor children, black, white, latino black children with choices. the question is if you campaign on those issues, if latinos conclude mitt romney is more likely to have many family ha v a b jo, bring down the price of gas, have my child have an effective education does that overcome whatever the democratic attack is? he'll probably get the same percentage george bush did which would be in the 40s. >> that's a bold prediction. >> it will take a lot of effort,
a lot of campaigning. >> challenge for the president. ron brown writes about it this week. what's the message? what's the job creation goal? the big idea for the second term? he writes, today for its one senior democratic close to the white house voters don't know what pam would do. the wedge issues and doubts about romney are helping the president retain some voters who may be tempted to abandon him but obama would be pray playing with fire to say he could hold the voters without a more compelling, specific plan than he's offered so far to improve their lives. what is that plan? >> in order to create jobs a modern economy requires modern investment. speaker gingrich describes himself as a pro growth republican. i describe myself as a pro growth democrat. we need to create jobs. how you do that is innovate, invest in education, invest in infrastructure. >> the government has to spend money on infrastructure in the
country. that's a big idea. >> to a degree. you can't do less. how much less do you want for the country? how much less education for the economy? how many fewer bridges can we keep in good repair? is that good for the economy? certainly not. >> so obama second term, the government spends more because it has to? >> no, no. the bottom line is job creation. president obama created more jobs last year than in all eight years of george bush. what romney has is an alternative to take us back to the days of debt. back to the days of record job losses. record home foreclosures. when people are given a choice, particularly new americans, about an expanding view of america with more jobs and more opportunity or a return to the days of george bush. >> they want to run the 2004
campaign to make it a contrast, a choice not a referendum. >> they have to. they have to find a way to set up. let's talk about spending more. the president said he was shocked to discover shovel-ready jobs weren't shovel-ready. he represents bureaucrat tick investment. romney made a proposal this week to improve the education of poor americans and improve the education of children with disabilities while lowering the cost. in new york city if your child goes to a catholic school it costs two-thirds as much and they are much more likely to go to college. the same is true of private charter schools. this is a fight over not more or less but better or worse. the president has to defend public bureaucracies that are worse in many cases. >> you two were chosen for a reason. as much, governor, as you love your job and i know you love being the governor of maryland.
a lot of buzz about you running for president next go around. mr. speaker, what advice might you give governor o'malley on running for president? >> raise a lot of money. >> that's what it takes? >> it's the entry level problem. you've got to be with prepared. understand you will spend two, three years on the road. >> are you disappointed about the process and how we pick presidents? >> this has been a brutal, tough process at least since 1800. it hasn't gotten less brutal and shouldn't. if you're not tough enough to get to the presidency, you're not tough enough to be president. i have no regrets. it was a wonderful, amazing -- calista said she learned two things. people are nice even if they don't agree with you and money matters. >> would you like to be on the ticket with romney? >> i think that's highly implausible. i have learned never to say no
but i find it as implausible as you find it. >> governor, are you likely to run in 2016? >> i haven't thought that far. i'm focused on what i'm doing now which is doing everything in my power to help elect democratic governors like tom barrett in wisconsin where the polls have narrowed. wisconsin is an interesting choice. tom barrett has been a mayor, has brought people together to solve problems versus scott walker. 50th out of 50 states in job creation. and the only sitting governor with an active criminal defense fund. this is going to be an exciting race. >> another side to the story story we'll talk about on the roundtable. thank you both. coming up, we'll hear from our political roundtable on the rules of engagement and the race for the white house and some of the new polls show a very tight race. we'll go inside the battlegrounds with a focus on ohio. the mayor of los angeles is
here. former chair carly fiorina. d.j. dion and david brooks of the new york times. later, advice for the class of 2012 from maria shriver and michael lewis. stay tuned for that. >> announcer: "meet the press" is brought to you by the boeing company. i'm going to read one of these. i'm going to read one of these! [ female announcer ] unlike sprays and dust rags, swiffer 360 dusters extender gets into hard to reach places so you can get unbelievable dust pick up in less time. i love that book! can you believe the twin did it? ♪ [ female announcer ] swiffer. great clean in less time. or your money back. ♪ i'm here to unleash my inner cowboy. instead i got heartburn. [ horse neighs ] hold up partner. prilosec isn't for fast relief. try alka-seltzer. it kills heartburn fast.
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one of the things we want to do between now one of the things we want to do is go inside the battlegrounds and focus on the states that will decide the election in the fall. today, ohio. i want to take you inside ohio as we look at some of the particulars of a state that was so crucial in 2008 and will be again. you have unemployment at 7.4% below the national average. in 2008 it was obama, 52 to mccain, 47. most visited state by the candidates in 2008 will also likely be the case this go around as well. i was in cleveland this week. there was something of a renaissance going on there economically. that bears importance for this part of the state, typically democratic. it's where the pam team will focus. what's the message? the auto bailout.
with the manufacturing base there it's likely to play well there. the romney team knows it, by the way. they understand they will be up against a lot of headwinds. their focus is in cincinnati. they have to turn out the vote there to offset what's going on here. a lot to talk about including how things stand in the battleground states. a look at the latest polling. the ma ris poll has the president at 48% to romney's 42%. they are both below 50. a lot of time they will spend. more on the battlegrounds as we continue. here with us washington post columnist and the author of our divided political heart e.j. dionne. carly fiorina is with us and the democratic may iic mayor of los. the mayor spearheading the return of the great los angeles dodgers. they are off to a great start to
the season under terrific new leadership. the nationals are as well, so my divided sports heart. welcome to you all. i want to start on where i ended with the governor and the speaker. look what we have had so far. the war on women, hillary rosen's comments. now the battle over bain? what's fair game? >> it's fair especially if you have no agenda. we have deep structural problems. i haven't seen either candidate talk about it. if you ask is there a plan for the future? 36% obama, 31% romney. that's bad. i question the obama decision to start negative. they are focusing on a negative way. it seems self-destructive. people like obama, they admire him. he's at risk of throwing that away by going extremely tough, hard, looking conventional and
running inaccurate ads. the ad against the steel company bain took over had inaccuracies as the basis of the ad. they said it was successful until bain took over. false. they said romney threw people on the street. romney was gone by then. they said they are loading up debt and dumping then. the companies have no higher default rate than anyone else. that damages his personal reputation. >> first of all, when george bush began his 2004 campaign against john kerry he began in february and march. i didn't see republicans then saying the president should never attack an opponent. secondly the argument over bain is part of the substantive argument over american capitalism. if romney said from the beginning his role as a job creator at bane was the key reason he should be president thanks to this exchange even
rush limbaugh has said, no, private equity firms aren't about creating jobs. if you go back into our history it's something i talk about in the book. we have been arguing about the nature of american capitalism from the beginning. whether it's hamilton and clay talking about manufacturing. andrew jackson, the debate on the bank of the united states or wilson who warned of the time when the power of commerce -- finance could be greater than that of government. we are trying to decide not whether we'll have capitalism or another system. we are trying to determine what kind of capitalism we want in america. the debate about bain raises legitimate issues over how you should do capitalism in a way that benefits everybody. >> i don't know that voters are going to the polls thinking about the great debate over the role of capitalism. if you are the obama team what you're saying is this guy running against me is a financer. remember what brought on the recession? the financers on wall street.
he doesn't get you. he doesn't get you middle class voters. that seems to be what they are after here. >> i find the attacks surprising. first of all, capitalism lifted more people out of poverty than any economic system in the history of the world. secondly, the goal is to lift as many people out of poverty. the way you do it is with a job. third, successful companies create jobs. failing companies destroy jobs. i think president obama is indicating what many of us have suspected for some time. he actually doesn't understand how the economy works. bain capital, like many businesses, invested in small start-ups with the goal to make them successful. jobs were created. finally, i find this attack so strange. this was a man, barack obama, who went to the american people and said, i am a community organizers, an untenured law professor, a junior senator who has not completed a single term. i am qualified to be president.
mitt romney, a governor of a major state with 25 years of experience in the private sector isn't qualified to be president. that's a surprising argument. i don't think it will work. >> mayor? >> look. romney has made bain and his experience at bain, he's claimed as the central plank of the campaign. he said he was a job creator and the fact checkers said he didn't create the 100,000 jobs he said he did. he did add debt to people, laid off people and made money. he's good at making money. he put it front and center. the campaign responded to it. it's not an issue of private equity. nobody's questioning the role of private equity. i actually worked in private equity for a couple of years about ten years ago. what we are questioning is, is he a job creator?
no. as governor of massachusetts he wasn't. is he somebody who address it is debt? you heard martin o'malley say he had the highest per capita debt when he left massachusetts of any governor in the state. me put his record front and center and we responded. let me look at the head to head which shows you are still under 50%. the president has a slight edge at 47 to 43. if you look at the advantages, david prooks, that the president now has, to me it goes to the point of how he's trying to identify and cast governor romney among hispanics, younger voters, women, westerners, independents, all advantage to the president. also on that list, seniors, suburban women and overall in the battleground states.
>> the democrats have huge advantages which will get bigger. the president has big personal advantages. couple disadvantages. one, europe. i think europe is the big story if greece falls out of the euro. other countries, disaster for incumbents. that's one of them. the tenor of the campaign will change. it will become the new orleans saints. by that i mean normal competition will turn into bounty hunting. both people in both campaigns will get their juices flowing and take meaner and meaner shots. that will supress turnout. i think that hurt it is president more because his favorability ratings are higher. >> it is a broader question. carly, you ran for senate. here's the cover of the weeking magazine when it talks about political ads. the headline is targets of bigotry. will billionaires fund super pac attack on race and religion?
is this what david is referring to? now the question is what does it take to get elected at this stage of the game? >> i think all of us look at the state of the campaign today. we believe it will be close and nasty. the question is motives. frankly, i think president obama has been more guilty of this than anyone else. president obama, vice president buy den are continually questioning people's motives, their heart, their character. they don't get you. they don't care.
it would be so much better, i think, for the american people if political debate was argued on the facts and it's not questioning someone's character and motivation. >> you do have romney attacking the president for going on an apology tour and not championing american exceptionalism. there's a motive question there, too. >> there are a whole series of things that governor romney said about obama that is simply not true, the apology tour is one of them. the united decision not only changed the law, but also gave a kind of social green light to all of these super pacs and the super pac ads are particularly dangerous because if i attack you with my campaign money, i am accountable for that attack, and you can say that's outrageous, it's untrue, when these committees for good government put on an ad and say outrageous things, the candidate can sit back and say that's not me. that's someone else and those super pacs will put out hundreds of millions of dollar of ads. i think you're right. i think the president goes in with structural advantages. the difference this time than last time is the president vastly outspent john mccain in the last election and this time
with the super pac money coming in from the right, i think it will be a real challenge to the president. >> i want to put up romney's advantages as we look at our own polling. among men, suburbanites, midwesterners, married women, and high-interest voters a slight edge there, but latinos are a huge problem for the republican party right now and our oversampling of latino voters with telemundo, obama has a 61% to 27% advantage. is there anything that changes that advantage? for instance if marco rubio were to be on the ticket, do you think there's any potential for changing that dynamic? >> some potential, not much. vice presidential candidates don't usually give you a big bump, maybe in that state. david said something with respect to president obama's support among ethnics and other democratic groups and it has everything to do with the fact that the republican party has gone so far to the right.
we saw that in the election on women taking this to the 1950s and talking about contraception and on the issue of immigration, talking about the south deportation of 11 million people. i don't know a country in the world that has ever south deported 11 million people. when he said the dream act was a handout. that's out of the mainstream of what most people think. when he failed to stand up and say anything when cain talked about electrifying the border fence. so i think that's a big reason why. it's the policies of the extreme part of their party, but i didn't see, and i don't think any of us saw governor romney really challenge some of those extreme policies. >> i agree with him here with the republicans and the republicans are completely aware of this, karl rove is aware and marco rubio is trying
successfully, and i think it will hurt them long term and i don't think it will hurt them this time for historical reasons. when you reelect an incumbent there are two things we know. first, it's a referendum, there are rarely choices and the referendum on the record of the last four years and not the personality of the candidates and so that, when you take that basic structure of reelect races that does hurt obama and then the final thing is when you ask people are you better off than four years ago? 35% say yes and that's pretty bad. >> let me go around the table on a few other items that i wanted to get to quickly. that is in wisconsin, we called election in milwaukee mayor, tom barrett taking on scott walker who took on the unions and now you have a recall election. david, i heard you talk about this race as something that will be important for the fall. >> right. because i think that one of the fundamental issue in europe and here is we have welfare states that need reform. i don't like particularly the way the governor of wisconsin did it, but he did it, and if he
supported it that would be green light for a lot of other reformers and it's a test case nationally. i'm also not sure why if he wins and why mitt romney doesn't also win. >> the next item here has to do with something going on this week and that's trump. he's going to be campaigning with governor romney and newt gingrich will be there as well. again this week, donald trump was sticking by questions over whether president obama was really an american citizen. how much damage is there, e.j., getting so close to the flame if you're governor romney if you're thinking of an endorsement of an ally that people never quite understood. >> i think if governor romney doesn't put out some very, very, very clear statement that he distances himself from this birther stuff. i don't know why he is hanging around with donald trump, but governor romney has not distanced himself from the right wing on anything.
he hasn't taken a step back from the extremism in the republican party. one thing i talk about in my book how conservatism used to be a balance between conservative concerns and community concerns. right now as you're seeing in the scott walker recall, i agree it's very significant, but it's significant in a different way from david. i think people in wisconsin -- they're saying, wait a minute, we like consensual politics in wisconsin, where a conservative like tommy thompson never did the things that this governor is doing. i think mitt romney has to step back from this at some point and he hasn't done it yet. >> final item is the question of colin powell. will he endorse in this race? it came up in the context of russia and romney. one of his folks saying russia was the biggest strategic threat to the united states. colin powell was on "morning joe" on msnbc this week and had this reaction. >> governor romney not too long ago said the russian federation
is the number one geostrategic threat. come on, think. that isn't the case. i don't know if mitt really thinks that, or if someone told him. >> someone told him to say it? what? >> i don't know. you ask him. it's been catching a lot of heck from the more regular gop community. we're kind of taken a back by it. >> carly, quickly, is foreign affairs going to be a target of opportunity against this president? >> certainly foreign affairs are on the minds of average americans, especially at memorial day when we think about the sacrifices of so many men and women in uniform and their families. i think colin powell, a friend of mine, is an independent man. he'll make up his mind when he decides to, however, i think what governor romney probably intended was, it is true that we have the most unsettled
relationship with russia right now, and we have a leader of russia whose motivations are, to put it kindly, unclear who has a very clear history. >> all right. we're going to leave it there. thank you all very much. we'll take another break here. when we come back, a special conversation about this commencement season and some advice for the class of 2012. joining me, two of the season's most celebrated commencement speakers, maria shriver and best selling author michael lewis, right after this short break. [ male announcer ] what's in your energy drink?
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>> and finally, wherever you go in life, however fast you're going, remember this, whenever you are in doubt, pause. >> and finally, wherever you go in life, however fast you're going, remember this, whenever you are in doubt, pause. take a moment. look at all of your options, check your intention. have a conversation with your heart and then always take the high road. >> sage advice from maria shriver as the class of 2012 graduates and prepares to enter such an uncertain world, i wanted to reach out to two celebrated voices in our culture and two highly sought-after commencement speakers. you just heard from maria shrivers who addressed the university of southern california annenberg school of journalism and author of "money ball," "boomerang," and one of
my personal favorites, michael lewis. welcome to both of you. thank you for being here. >> thanks for having us. >> maria, let's pick up on that piece of the commencement address that you gave. the power of pause. what did you think that was so important for graduates to hear including someone in the audience that was extra special. >> my daughter was in that graduating class. i think we're in a rush, all of us to go out, and to be first in every business we're in a rush and i wanted to tell these young people, they're going out to uncertain times and they know that far better than most of us and it's okay to pause, and it's okay not to know the answer, what are you going to do? what's your job? how much are you making? the concept of pausing throughout life is a very powerful concept, i think.
there's so much outward communication. i wanted to talk about the benefit of communicating inwardly with yourself throughout your life and you have to pause to do that. >> it's interesting, michael, because there is so much emphasis on the individual graduate as he or she goes off into the world and not enough emphasis on the idea of becoming part of a team and a sense of shared purpose, which i think resonates with a lot of young people. >> i think that's true. i think maria's point is very well taken, i've actually only done a few of these commencement speeches and each time i do them i do feel -- i wonder whether anybody's listening, and i do kind of -- i'm a little skeptical about the power of words on these ears. i think back, and i'm actually giving a talk i supposedly heard 30 years ago when i graduated from princeton and not only do i not remember the talk or the speaker, i don't remember the event even happening, and i'm
thinking of what i'm telling these people and it's quite possible that i will be the only one that remembers what i say no matter what i say, but it's -- you know, when you sit and you think what do you tell people to make a difference in their lives as they go out into this world, the business of backing away from the pressures, from not accepting that you have to do anything, when you walk out the doors of university and giving -- and sort of, leaving yourself open to rare risks of that stage of your life is a pretty good message, because it is sort of the point in your life when you're 21, 22 years old when you are most likely to take useful risks and as you get older you take fewer and fewer of them. i'll take that as my theme, but i doubt anybody will pay much attention.
>> well, i don't know. maria, the thing that occurred to me and i've only done a few of them and i did a couple a few weeks ago and i think i'm not that much older than these graduates and then i realize, a, yes, i am, and b, i have more in common with their parents and then i get emotional because i think about my own kids and that's what seems to overtake me. >> well, they play the pomp and circumstance, you get very emotional and i almost burst into tears in the speech because i talked about being in awe at my first child graduating from college, but i think there are a lot of people our age who are speaking to these young people who have something very much in common and there are millions of people having to start over in their lives and who are having to re-imagine their lives and are having to take incredible risks and having to do things they never imagined and we're in this together, i think,
depending on our age and there are so many women finding themselves in the position of caretaker, nurturers and having to start businesses and i think as a nation, we're having to redefine who we are and what we're doing and we're strong step back and say i might have to take a risk i never imagined. i look for common ground with these graduates, they might be younger, but we're all starting out on a path in many ways that has no client of clear direction to it. it's scary and exciting. >> it is scary and exciting. michael, the other thing that feeds into this, the point you made about risk and it's something you said in 2010. everybody says do what you love. this was your advice. >> the challenge for you, i think, today is to find what you love and do it before you figure out how much that love is going to cost you.
>> what did you mean by that? >> yes. you know, it is -- it's -- it's something, you know, you get dragged into these things because you're supposed to provide some sort of role model for them, i think. in a funny way, i think these speeches are misconceived. they probably benefit more from negative examples. if they would bring back some white-collar criminals or goldman sachs ceo traders or disgraced politicians to explain why you don't do what you do to get to where i am, that might have more effect, so i get to sort of explain how i got to where i am in this happy position of doing what i like to do, and i tell them that, look, was there a moment in my life when i was not much older than you where the price of doing what i wanted to do seemed very, very high, the financial price and i was not 25 years old and i
would not have gone and done it, because i didn't figure out how high that price was at the time. look, ten years later i never would have made the decision i made to do what i wanted to do because it would have seemed like it cost too much. so i sort of insistently said to them, look, this is the moment when you can pay that price because you don't really know what it is. so go for it. this is your -- maybe your one shot when you come out of here. so don't blow it by jumping at money, by doing the things that everybody thinks you should do because it seems successful. figure out where your heart is and try to go with that. >> maria, i want to come back and perhaps end on this point of the inner journey that you talked about off the top and there was one commencement speaker in 1994 who was pretty
near and dear to your heart and that was your late father, sergeant shriver and this is what he said in part. he said i am a man of consequence, the sergeant shriver known everywhere as maria shriver's father. the first thing i've learned is this, it's not what you get out of life that counts it's what you give is what is given to you from the heart. in another point i have one small word of advice, because it's going to be tough. break your mirrors. yes indeed, shatter the glass. in our society that is so self-absorbed, begin to look less at yourself and more at each other and learn more about your neighbor and less of your own. >> that's very valuable advice and it could be given by someone like my father who was a deeply religious and deeply spiritual man and i find people i talk to are redefining what success
means in their lives and they are going within to ask those questions and michael talked about changing course in his career. you can only do that if you step back and really have a conversation with yourself about what makes you happy, how you define success and for -- and be courageous enough to say maybe i don't define it in the way that will get me on the cover of "people" magazine or "time" magazine, but it works for me and that might be in serving people, taking care of your family, having time to coach a little league game and so i think people are in the process of redefining what success means, and i think that's a really great thing, and i think you can only do that if you break the mirror, pause, step back, take a beat and talk to your heart. >> michael lewis, whether you think the kids are listening or not, i'm sure as a dad you get up there and you're thinking of these big thoughts and thinking of your own kids at the same time. >> i'm mainly thinking if i give the princeton commencement speech, princeton will feel obliged to admit them. >> not! won't happen! >> thank you both.
great to have you both and i appreciate it. >> thank you. thank you. and before we go here, a programming note, we will re-air on msnbc today at 2:00 p.m. eastern and again tomorrow at 6:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon tomorrow. check out our interview with ashley judd on meetthepress.com. that is all for today. we'll be back next week. if it's sunday, it's "meet the press." as we leave you this memorial day weekend, we honor and remember all of the men and women who have given their lives for this nation. god bless our troops and their god bless our troops and their families. -- captions by vitac -- are you guys okay? yeah. ♪ [ man ] i had a great time. thank you, it was really fun. ♪ [ crash ] i'm going to write down my number, but don't use it. [ laughing ] ♪ [ engine turns over ]
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